BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The sun came out and the breeze kicked-up a little Monday morning as the 16th annual Children's Walking Parade started to roll. Hundreds of people lined the streets of downtown Biloxi to catch the Mardi Gras fun. This year, the parade took a different route.
The band signaled the start of the parade and the tour train pulled into position. More than 200 children strolled while others rolled through downtown Biloxi on decorated wagons, bikes, scooters, even roller skates.
"Throw me something mister!" one girl shouted.
"It's pretty good. They're giving out a lot of candy and it's really cool, because letting all the kids be in it," said ten-year-old Amari Jones of Gulfport.
The little ones tossed beads, toys, and candy from their custom-made vehicles. This year's theme was "Celebrations around the World".
"I'm very excited, because it's very, very fun," said five-year-old Atticus Dumont.
The Children's Walking Parade normally ends at the Biloxi Town Green. But this year, the festivities kicked-off there and ended at the Magnolia Hotel, which is home of the new Mardi Gras Museum.
"The Mardi Gras Museum is opening this year, so we thought it would be great to end there," said Biloxi Main Street Director Kay Carter. "We're so excited to have it back, and it's about to go in full swing. Our gift shop's open now, so it's great!"
The parade ended much like it started, with excitement on the faces of those who come every year.
"I like the children, like to give out all the beads, and say happy-happy-happy," said Winky the Blue Nose Clown. "I loved the parade. It was bigger this year. There are so many children, and everybody's having such a great time. It was wonderful."
There were also smiles on the faces of those catching the carnival spirit for the very first time.
"It's fun. The atmosphere is nice, just seeing all the different people and the way they celebrate. It's great," said Charlie Matthews, who was visiting from Buffalo, New York.
"It's cute. It's nice to see the kids being active and throwing the beads, having fun for the kids," said his wife Brenda Matthews.
The parade ended with a costume and float contest. Prizes included cash, T-shirts, medals and special doubloons. Six-year-olds Santana Duncombe and Isabelle Smith reigned over the festivities this year.